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Brighton Journal | 24th February 2020

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Are we drinking too much in Brighton and Hove?

Are we drinking too much in Brighton and Hove?
Hannah Midgley

Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 19th to 25th November this year in the UK centring around the theme of ‘change’.

It may be unsurprising to hear alcohol is the most commonly used and abused substance in the UK, but are we aware of the depth of the problem? National statistics collected by Public Health England state 10.8 million adults nationally are drinking at high-risk levels and 1.6 million are dependent drinkers.

It is important to note not everyone who drinks alcohol abuses it, but a wealth of support is available in Brighton and Hove for those suffering from alcoholism and addiction. Pavillions provides adult Drug & Alcohol Services to help anyone struggling with their substance use or those concerned for family or friends.

Hélène Begg, City Manager of Pavillions, identified some of the most popular support services they provide in Brighton and Hove. Their work has helped 1023 people around the city suffering from alcoholism in just 12 months.

Speaking to Brighton Journal, Hélène said: “We are working with Brighton and Hove City council to raise awareness of the impact of alcohol. We have an Alcohol Awareness Week social media campaign and we are releasing toolkits and information to professionals helping them work with alcohol use with a variety of clients such as older people and families.”


Black Lion pub and The Crickters both claim to be the oldest pub in Brighton and Hove. © Copyright PAUL FARMER

Alcohol awareness in Brighton and Hove

With over 900 pubs, bars, and clubs in Brighton and Hove, many believe drinking is a big part of the cultural makeup of the city. In 2011, 1,300 residents of Brighton and Hove completed a survey for ‘The big alcohol debate’ for the city council, which highlighted the following statistics:

  • 61% of people said that alcohol was part of their social life
  • 65% said that they found alcohol easy to get hold of in the city
  • 39% of people avoid parts of Brighton & Hove because of the way drunk people behave there

Hélène explained: “The most popular and beneficial support is the monthly one to one support sessions, but they work best paired up with a community detox programme for those who are alcohol dependent. We also offer peer-led groups or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy courses, acupuncture and mindfulness.”

Pavilions are also focussing on helping dentists identify problematic alcohol use and make referrals as a different way of approaching the issue. Researchers have spoken about how dentists should liaison with medical practitioners to not only identify dental problems but other health issues as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. 


© U3144362

How much alcohol is safe to drink?

Research conducted by Alcohol Change UK indicates it safest not to drink more than 14 units per week, spread over three or more days and with a few days off. This equates to around six pints of lager or a bottle and a half of wine. Alcohol intake levels vary from person to person, and you can find out how much you’re drinking through unit calculators.

Alcohol Awareness Week focuses on the theme of change and how we can reduce harm through our drinking habits. It’s with the help of services like Pavilions and increased health information that the amount drunk by the average UK adult decreased from 11.6 litres of alcohol in 2004 to 9.5 litres in 2016.

Most importantly, the awareness week aims to communicate the problem of alcohol misuse to reduce stigma and promote a conversation of a nationwide problem. Help is at hand for anyone whose lives are affected by the repurcussions of excessive drinking.

“If you are worried about your alcohol use, drop into Richmond House, between 9.30am and 4pm Monday to Friday.” Hélène also explained how Family members or carers affected by substance misuse can receive one-to-one counselling through the Family and Carers Team. “Our success rate is high and we are confident you can make changes with our support.”

For more information about their services, visit the Pavilions website or call 01273 731900 or 0800 014 9819. 

  • To make an appointment or have a referral: 01273 731900
  • Family and Carers Team: 01273 680714

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